Rights group urges Israel to end Gaza blockade

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JERUSALEM (AP) — A leading human rights group has urged Israel to stop blockading Gaza, saying it is “suffocating” the 1.4 million Palestinians living there.

Israel and Egypt blockaded the strip after Hamas militants overran it in 2007.

Israel allows only limited humanitarian supplies in and says the blockade is meant to prevent materials that could be used to produce weapons from reaching militants.

Amnesty International dismisses Israel’s claim that the blockade targets Gaza’s militants who have fired thousands of rockets on southern Israel.

It says the blockade punishes Gaza’s entire population by restricting the entry of food, medical supplies and building materials.

Amnesty’s statement on Monday did not urge Egypt to lift its own blockade.